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Fr John Vella

Rev. Dr. John Vella, M.A. Psychotherapy & Counselling (London), PhD. Psychotherapy & Counselling (Wales),


Fr John has been a practicing counsellor and psychotherapist for over twelve years. He has a Master’s degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy. He has been trained in Alcohol and Substance abuse counselling. Moreover he trained at the Institute of Group Analysis. He worked for several years in a drug rehabilitation center, supervised counsellors in diverse settings, has a private practice and at present works as a full-time counsellor at the University of Malta where he also teaches on a part-time basis. At present he is undergoing training in Jungian Sandplay Therapy and also doing a Ph.D. research degree with Regent’s College in London on Shadow Integration and the Psychotherapist.




Charmaine Dalli B.Psy.(Hons)(Melit.), P.G.C.E.(Melit.), M.Sc.(Dev.Psychopathology)(Reading, UK), M.Psy.(Clin.)(Melit.)

 Charmaine Dalli is a warranted Clinical Psychologist who began her work in the mental health field after having completed her Bachelor in Psychology as well as PGCE in PSD at the University of Malta. In 2006 she read a degree in Master of Science in Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Reading, UK. Ms Dalli taught PSD in at a Church Secondary school for three years; meanwhile she began working with both adults and young persons in inpatient as well as outpatient and community teams at the local mental health hospital within the Ministry of Health. Her work within these settings involved carrying out assessments and working therapeutically with service users whilst also attending case conferences and working within multidisciplinary teams. 

She has also been appointed as a court expert at the Law Courts and has also performed psychological assessments as part of annulment proceedings at the Metropolitan Tribunal. Ms Dalli has been holding her private practice for the past six years and has also provided freelance services to the Looked After Children Services within Agenzija Sedqa. 

Ms Dalli read her second masters degree at the University of Malta, graduating in Masters of Psychology in Clinical Psychology in 2012. Her dissertation focused on the lived experience of children of incarcerated mothers, a retrospective qualitative study that was unique in nature, both locally and internationally. 

She has taught credits related to psychology within the Departments of Education and Psychology and has held a visiting post of assistant lecturer with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Malta since 2013. Ms Dalli is currently working with the Counselling Services on a full-time basis. 

Shawn Farrugia B.PSY (Hons)

Intake Officer 

Ms Monica Xuereb

Monica Xuereb D. Psi. (Padova)

Monica Xuereb studied at the Universities of Padua (Italy) and Carleton (Canada) and holds a doctorate in Clinical and Community Psychology.  After having lectured in medical, psychology and education degree courses for ten years, in 2003 she joined the University of Malta’s Counselling Unit.  In the past, she served as a Clinical Psychologist within the national health service, performing duties at various hospitals and health institutions, and as a Senior Psychologist at The Eden Foundation.  She has also supervised trainee psychologists and served as court expert and consultant to government agencies, schools, children’s homes and NGOs.  In 2000, she was appointed to sit on the National Commission for Mental Health and on the Diocesan Commission for Children’s Homes.  Dott. Xuereb’s research activities focused on inclusive education, children’s welfare, genetic counselling and presymptomatic testing.  She has been involved in several European research projects, such as EPIST and RMC-Malta.

Anna Maria Borg Bartolo  M.Psy (Couns.)(Melit.) M.Gest. Psy. (GPTIM)

Ms Borg Bartolo is a warranted Counselling psychologist working on a part-time basis with Foundation for Social Welfare Services Sedqa and Appoġġ. In this capacity she forms part of the team of Psychological Services working within the Foundation to provide a service for children, adolescents, families and adults who are experiencing numerous difficulties in their lives due to complex inter generational trauma and substance abuse. Ms Borg Bartolo specializes in establishing and maintaining therapeutic relationships with adolescents and adults whilst working with other professionals within this framework. She also holds a Masters degree in Gestalt psychotherapy and for the last 19 years has worked in numerous settings in providing psychotherapy for various client groups. She is an accredited member of the European Association of Psychotherapy.

She has provided her services to the University Counselling Unit as a visiting counselling psychologist for the last few years. Additionally, she provides a therapeutic service for the Faculty of Social Well-being students of Social Work during their Sensitivity Training. In the past 10 years, she has formed part of the teams of facilitators that assist psychology, nursing and medical students during their training in Interpersonal Skills training as part fulfillment of their course.

Ms Borg Bartolo is interested in understanding the impact of trauma on the human psyche and provides trauma-informed care to individuals with various presentations of trauma related symptoms. People who have been exposed to early and chronic trauma present with co-occurring symptoms and mental difficulties that complicate diagnosis and assessment. Psychotherapy provides the ideal milieu for the psychological growth of these persons that ultimately translates itself into emotional, relational, cognitive and behavioral change.


John Agius B.Psy(Hons), D.Psicol. Clin. (Universita’ degli Studi di Padova) MPPB Reg.

John A. Agius graduated from the University of Malta in B.Psy. (Hons) in 1996. This was followed by 2 years of working as Assistant Psychologist and Programme Coordinator at Sedqa, Malta’s national agency working in the treatment of drug, alcohol and gambling addictions. He won a scholarship from the Istituto Italiano di Cultura for merits in the field of work in addictions, which led to a Dottorato in Psicologia clinica e di Comunita’ from the prestigious Univerista’ degli Studi di Padova, in Italy. The final thesis dealt with the cross-cultural experimentation of using narrative therapy in conceptualizing group psychotherapy in drug-addiction rehabilitation programmes. A year’s full-time employment as clinical psychologist within the psychiatric department of the Camposanpiero Hospital ensued. From August 2002 till May, 2009, he served as senior clinical psychologist within Komunita’ Santa Marija (Sedqa’s Drug residential rehabilitation programme) and held the role of team-leader to the Sedqa psychological team which offered psychological services within all the Sedqa departments. As from May, 2009 to day he works as free-lance clinical psychologist giving service to the University Counselling Service, The Richmond Foundation, to ETC (Employment and Training Centre) and holding his own personal private practice.  He also lectures on a part-time level within the MA. Couns course.

Christiane Sullivan (MSc Psych, PGDip. Psych)

Christiane Sullivan joined the counselling unit in May 2011. She is a psychologist and psychotherapist, and also a WPF (London) trained supervisor and works in private practice.  She is also a visiting senior lecturer with the Faculty for Social Wellbeing at the University of Malta. She is a founder member of the Malta Depth Psychological Association and is studying to become a Jungian Analyst. Her interest in Depth Psychology offers her the framework to understand the language and the dynamics of the unconscious mind as it manifests in her work with clients, as well as assists her in her musings over the goings-on in the world. She also combines this interest in her dealings with issues of sickness and health, as well as ancestral and transgenerational responses to trauma. She thinks of psychotherapy as a project that two people engage in together to try to better understand the problems of living in order to make changes that promote growth and personal fulfillment. She is currently chairperson of the Malta Psychology Profession Board.



 Joshua Aquilina B.Psy (Hons) (Melit.) M.Psy (Couns.)(Melit.)

Mr Aquilina is a counselling psychologist working within the counselling services of G.F. Abela Junior College, the University of Malta, and in private practice. He obtained his postgraduate degree in 2012 and has mainly worked with adolescents since. He has experience working with drug and alcohol addictions, children and adolescents who have experienced trauma and abuse, adult cancer patients and their relatives, elderly adults with mild dementia, and people with mental disorders in a hospital setting in Malta. Mr. Aquilina also spent some months doing bereavement work, public talks, psychotherapy, and assessment whilst doing voluntary work in Malawi, Africa. Currently he works with adolescents and adults with a wide range of issues varying from personal development, mental health, abuse, addiction, sexual identity, couple work, and bereavement to name a few. In addition to this he has played competitive basketball since 1996 and continues to do so. He also likes to read, enjoy time with nature, meditate, be with his family, and travel.


Pierre Scicluna  BA (Hons) Dip. (Couns.) P.G. Adv. Dip. (Couns) M.C.B.T. (London)

Fully qualified in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Counselling and Social Work, our Therapist Pierre has experience working with children, adolescents and adults in the education sector, substance misuse, mental health including dual diagnoses, and community services. Pierre trained and qualified in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in London and Ireland and has been personally trained and supervised by Professor Windy Dryden. He specialises, and has years of experience working both in Malta and NHS London, in the treatment of mental health including OCD, Phobias, Social Anxiety, Performance Anxiety, Health Anxiety, Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Depression and Psychosis. Pierre has also worked with adolescent issues, education anxiety, middle age crisis, separation issues and other day-to-day problems.

Being a counsellor trained in person-centred, Psychodynamic and Gestalt approaches, Pierre has worked with people who needed support to enhance their coping skills and be able to make decisions to move forward in their life. Offering structured and prescriptive CBT Psycho-Therapy, Mindfulness or Counselling, Pierre uses also integrative techniques if deemed necessary in the assessment and formulation of every individual case.


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Counselling is available for all current students and staff members. 
Last Updated: 11 April 2019

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